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Texas Committee to Hear Problematic Dangerous Dog Bill on April 6

(Friday, April 03, 2009)

On Monday April 6, The Texas House County Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on House Bill 1982, a measure that would impose numerous new restrictions on dog owners and offer only vague definitions of the term "vicious dog".

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC also believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. Many of the provisions in HB 1982, however, are unnecessary and vague. This legislation would unreasonably impact many responsible dog owners.

AKC has many concerns with HB 1982, including, but not limited to:

  • Vague definitions of "vicious dog", including a dog that "because of the dog's physical nature and vicious propensity is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury…" The AKC supports laws that establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions. The language in HB 1982 implies that dogs are by nature vicious and would likely result in unfairly labeling dogs that have not caused harm.

  • Limitations on ownership of "vicious" dogs, including requiring someone to be at least 21 years old to own a "vicious" dog. It also includes prohibitions on allowing vicious dogs in public parks or schools, even on a leash. The AKC supports laws that establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The vague definitions in HB 1982, however, would likely result in limitations on responsible owners with well-behaved dogs.

  • Requirements that all residents of a city with a population of 1 million or more people keep any dog that weighs over 40 pounds on a leash in immediate control of a person, or kept inside a residence or a secure enclosure. The AKC believes all dog owners should be responsible for their dogs and comply with local animal control laws. Basic leash, nuisance, and animal control laws should apply to all dogs, regardless of size.

 

How You Can Help

  • Attend the House County Affairs Committee hearing on Monday, April 6. Ask the committee to oppose House Bill 1982. The hearing information is as follows:

    Texas House County Affairs Committee
    Monday, April 6, 2009
    2:00 p.m.
    Room E2.130
    Texas State Capitol
    N. Congress Avenue (between 11th and 15th Streets)
    Austin, Texas